We know that parents are their children's first sexuality educators, and sometimes parents can experience apprehension about their roles as sex educators.
We at PPNF want to help you feel comfortable in this important role, enhancing your ability to communicate with your children by learning relevant, age-appropriate information. Here are some helpful tips and tools to help you get started:
• Encourage communication by reassuring kids that they can talk to you about anything.
• Practice active listening by rephrasing your child’s statements or questions in your own words to better understand what is being communicated.
• Take advantage of teachable moments. Every song lyric, television scenario and pop-star pitfall provides opportunity for discussion to communicate both family values and accurate, age-appropriate sexuality information.
• Don’t jump to conclusions. The fact that a teen asks about sex does not mean that they are having or thinking about having sex.
• Answer questions simply and directly, giving factual, honest, short and simple answers.
• Respect your child’s views. Share your thoughts and values and help your child express theirs.
• Reassure young people that they are normal – as are their questions and thoughts.
• Teach your children ways to make good decisions about sex and coach them on how to get out of risky situations.
• Admit when you don’t know the answer to a question. Suggest that the two of you find the answer together on the internet or at the library.
• Discuss that at times your teen may feel more comfortable talking to someone other than you about these issues. Together, think of other trusted adults with whom they can talk.
• Prepare yourself with accurate information and with information that you and your child can look through together. Our brochure The Big Talk: Sex Ed at Home, created with the Alachua County Library District, has recommended reading for parents of children of all ages.
The following websites also offer information for parents and teens:
The information and activities on this site are constructed and presented to encourage a diverse population of teens to learn as much as possible about issues they face every day. Planned Parenthood values and supports parents in their task of raising sexually healthy children and hope that teenwire.com is a useful resource.
Advocates for Youth – For Parents
Initiating conversations about the facts of life may be difficult for some parents because they did not grow up in an environment where the subject was discussed. Some parents may be afraid they do not know the right answers or feel confused about the proper amount of information to offer. To help, this section of Advocates for Youth's Web site—Parents' Sex Ed Center—contains all of the information and resources you need to begin talking with your children about sex.
Sexuality Information & Education Council of the United States
SIECUS works to make sure that information, knowledge, and skills are within everybody's reach. Each year, SIECUS distributes hundreds of thousands of print and electronic resources to educators, advocates, parents, researchers, physicians, and others working to expand sexual health programs, policies, and understanding. SIECUS also offers specialized assistance to help individuals locate research, write accurate news articles, create sexual health curriculum, and build support for high quality programs in their community.
Internet Sexuality Information Services, Inc. Florida (ISIS)
Provides information about transmission, testing, and treatment for STDs and HIV. This information is accurate and explained in straightforward terms by Dr. K. (Dr. Jeffrey Klausner), currently the Chief of HIV Care and Treatment Branch for the CDC and Global AIDS program in South Africa and previously the Director of STD Prevention and Control Services for the San Francisco Department of Health. Inspot is a great anonymous partner identification tool. It allows individuals who have been diagnosed with an STD the opportunity to send an anonymous email postcard to persons they suspect they may have exposed. Also, it has a statewide directory that includes all state STD clinic sites and Community Based (CBOs) locations for HIV testing. So, people receiving an e-card can easily find a place to get tested. No information will be collected or shared and the website does not require any personal information to be entered.
Face It Florida (Florida’s Access to Comprehensive Education using Internet Technology)
Is a Florida Department of Health web-based prevention tool to engage, educate, and empower adolescents about sexually transmitted diseases. A person acts as a moderator with a group of friendly, easygoing people. The moderator speaks directly to the user and asks questions conversationally, even waiting for answers selected by the user. There are conversational selections for both adolescents and parents.